electrically neutral entity consisting of more than one atom (n > 1); rigorously, a molecule, in which n > 1 must correspond to a depression on the potential energy surface that is deep enough to confine at least one vibrational state
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A molecule is an electrically neutral group of two or more atoms held together by chemical bonds.
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- MOLECULE, n. The ultimate, indivisible unit of matter. It is distinguished from the corpuscle, also the ultimate, indivisible unit of matter, by a closer resemblance to the atom, also the ultimate, indivisible unit of matter. Three great scientific theories of the structure of the universe are the molecular, the corpuscular and the atomic. A fourth affirms, with Haeckel, the condensation of precipitation of matter from ether -- whose existence is proved by the condensation of precipitation. The present trend of scientific thought is toward the theory of ions. The ion differs from the molecule, the corpuscle and the atom in that it is an ion. A fifth theory is held by idiots, but it is doubtful if they know any more about the matter than the others.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
- Richard Feynman, in "The Value of Science" (1955)
- Such a shared-electron bond, first proposed in 1916 by G. N. Lewis, is called a covalent bond. The neutral collection of atoms held together by covalent bonds is called a molecule.
- John McMurry, Organic Chemistry 8th ed. (2012), Ch. 1 : Structure and Bonding